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Online Catalogue last updated 17th of September 2023

Railway Blunders by Adrian Vaughan

Two hundred years of railway development has brought assorted designs, structures and schemes that have ultimately proved to be a disoster. In the early years of railway history, many of these blunders arose from the ignorance of those dealing with new technology. Later, many of the promoters and engineers were tainted by another Victorian trait, over confidence and, as so often is the case, pride led to failure. We can see an example of this in the case of the first Tay railway bridge, where the prominent engineer Thomas Bouch (who was knighted for his efforts) saw his famous bridge destroyed. Depending on one's point of view, It was a result of poor materials, weak design or adverse climatic condition (or possibly a combination of all three). More recently, construction of the Heathrow Express was delayed by collapse, when the revolutionary tunneling method adopted proved inadequate. In between, there have been countless stories of engineers failing to design locomotives capable of operating over their companies' lines, or of structures completed for no commercial gain. In this publication the author looks at the errors within various themes across the whole history of railways, from the earliest days, where politics rather than engineering determined much of the country's railway development, through to the 21st century where the situation is arguably much the same. Locomotives, organisation, structures, politics and much more all falls under his acerbic analysis and, as a former professional railwayman, the author has been ideally placed to put into print the frustrations of those who had to try and make the railways function despite these blunders.

Code No. 013830, 160 pages, ISBN 9780711031692, $49.00

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